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Psst, Want A Nerf? New Changes to Classic Set

An evaluation of Blizzard's changes to the Classic set in preparation for future expansions

Image via Capcom

Blizzard finally announced the changes intended for the Classicset to open more variety in Standard and Wild formats.  Thesechanges will occur alongside the release of Whispers of the OldGods.  I wanted to take a moment to see how these changesmight impact the competitive meta of Hearthstone.  Let’s takea look at what Blizzard has in store for us:

 

 

This change is quite understandable.  Playing a 5/5 anddrawing two cards is just too good of a play.  Ancient of Lorewill still ensure that the Druid can cycle, but not as efficiently. This will also allow Hearthstone’s Design Team to create moredraw engines for Druid without overloading the effect. Ancient of Lore is still versatile enough to see play, butplayers might only add one copy depending on what deck they’recreating.

 

 

Can’t say nobody saw this coming.  Blizzard has had troublebalancing Charge (see pre Leeroy and Warsong Commander nerfs) andthe Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo is no different.  I’mglad they decided to get rid of it because I felt like the Druidcombo held deck building back for Druids.  Not to mention itforced players to keep their health constantly above 14 while alsoremoving Druid’s minions at the same time.  If Midrange Druidstill exists after this patch, I don’t think it has room for thisiteration of Force of Nature (particularly in Wild).  Thislooks like a better fit for Token Druid.

 

 

I can’t say I saw this coming, however I understand Blizzard’sreasoning behind the change.  Keeper of the Grove is a staplein Druid decks providing excellent utility.  I think thischange will promote using the 2 damage option earlier on in thegame, and silence later on.  The lower health doesn’tguarantee that Keeper of the Grove alone can take care of the boardearly on when using silence.  I suspect that players willstill see this card, but not as often anymore.  It will not bean automatic include in Druid decks anymore.

 

 

I don’t really have much to say about this change accept that itseems like another appropriate balanec to Silence once again. I think players will think twice about adding Ironbeak Owlinto their deck, but it’ll still be that nice cheap silence minion. It’s still considerably better than most 3 mana cost neutralminions, so this guy will most likely still see play.  Onecopy of Ironbeak Owl will still fit in Aggro and Beast relateddecks.

 

 

Not at all phased by seeing this card here- Big Game Hunter mustbe in the upper echelon of most controversial cards inHearthstone.  He’s really good at what he does for a neutralminion and helps decks that lack efficient removal, which is both ablessing and a curse.  Blizzard went in the right directionwith this card.  Allow the use of Big Game Hunter’s removal,but make it so the player using him has less follow up afterwords. I think we’ll be seeing less of the big guy, but he’s notgoing to be gone for good.  Big Game Hunter will still findhimself in a decent amount of Control decks, especially if any ofthese new Old God legendaries see play.

 

 

This is a warranted change for Hunter’s Mark.  Zero costanything has the potential to be too efficient depending on theeffect (see pre Soulfire nerf).  Hunter’s Mark will still seeits use, but Hunters will have to consider mana management beforeplaying this sucker.  I still think Hunters will run twocopies of the card.

 

 

The cries of a thousand Rogue players echoed throughout theworld when Blizzard revealed this change.  Blade Flurry hasbeen such a staple in the Rogue class providing sufficient boardclear and burst damage to opponents’ heroes.  A lot of playersare skeptical because Rogue has stayed generally viable due to itshigh spell damage output.  Rogue decks outside of this typehave not been incredibly successful.  However, I think thiswill be a healthy change for Rogue in the long run.  It willallow Blizzard to add more weapon synergy or better weapons toRogue without having to worry about the massive burst potentialfrom Blade Flurry.  I still think this card will still seeplay in spell heavy Rogue decks since Preparation still exists. Players will have to be more conscious about when to useBlade Flurry and not throw it out all willy-nilly.  I expectif Blade Flurry does see play in decks there will only be one copyof it.  A more control oriented deck might run two to add moreboard clear.

 

 

Not too much has changed with Knife Juggler.  Blizzard onlyreduced overall damage of the card itself, but not the potentialdamage output of his effect.  Players are still going to comboit with Muster for Battle, Imp-losion, Unleash the Hounds, etc. It will still be that minion that goes well in mostaggressive forms of decks.  Knife Juggler will just rely a bitmore on friendly minions to get the job done like always.

 

 

I am so happy this happened.  I always thought that LeperGnome just did way too much damage early on in the game.  Thischange makes it so Leper Gnome is still that pesky little runt, buthis overall damage output is kept in line.  Similar to some ofthe minion changes I think players will still see Leper Gnome justnot as frequent.  I have a sinking feeling more Argent Squireswill see play because of this change, but that’s just me.

 

 

Arcane Golem is used so much as a finisher that its terribleside effect is often neglected.  Now that Blizzard haseliminated the charge aspect players will have to consider thebattlecry much more before playing him.  Personally I thinkthis card will become unplayable after this change.  I don’tsee a world in which this card is played unless Blizzard developscards that punish opponents for having more mana crystals. This is the same reason why players don’t use Dancing Swords. Actively giving your opponent some sort of advantage is nevergood.

 

 

Not a surprise to see one of the Giants from the Classic sethere.  A big worry amongst players (including myself) was thatHandlock and Renolock would become the strongest decks in theStandard meta.  I can’t count the amount of times I played twoMolten Giants at the same time for zero mana. The higher cost should do the following: reduce the amount oftimes double Molten Giant is played and significantly cut thecombinations players can pull with discounted Molten Giants. Molten Giant will still be an integral part of Handlock andRenolock.  Players may opt to only put one Molten Giant inHandlock decks, but even then I still think adding both copies arefine.  This nerf may give Frost Giant a spot in Handlock andRenolock.  Also I wish to remind everyone that Holy Wrathreceived a buff thanks to the increased mana cost of Molten Giant. Thanks Ben Brode.

 

 

Yet another Rogue class card shockingly added to the list. Hearthstone developers deemed this card as a “designobstacle” and upon closer inspection I can see why.  Permanentstealth is pretty difficult to manage without AOE damage fromeffects or spells.  The card Animated Armor was meant to be aneutral card, but turned into a Mage class card because of Masterof Disguise.  Giving other minions stealth that are not meantto have it is a huge problem and Blizzard sought to rectify it. Imagine if this card was cheaper and had the same effect whenMiracle Rogue was running rampant.  Master of Disguise has notseen competitive play at all, but if it ever does I would like tosee it used in a balanced manner.

 

That wraps up all the changes Blizzard have in store for theClassic set in the foreseeable future.  I believe Blizzard hitall the right bases with most of these changes.  The only cardI think they missed the mark on was Knife Juggler.  Maybe theylike what he provides for Aggro decks, but as of right now thereare not too many options besides him.  I’m excited to see howthese changes impact Standard and Wild.

 

About the Author- I am a writer that follows competitive esportssuch as Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Super Smash Bros.Melee.  Follow me @Kenny_Humiston on Twitter for contentupdates.